Evidence continues to mount up demonstrating that proper movement can ward off certain diseases, increase quality of life, improve fitness levels, help people lose weight, reduce mortality risk, and the list goes on. Yet despite being a veritable magic bullet, this component of fitness is often overlooked.
As stated in a recent article published in USA Today, “Movement is the forgotten component of fitness and an emerging vital sign. Improving and sustaining quality of movement will boost your physical, mental and emotional health.”
In fact, most experts will agree movement is, in fact, the foundation of fitness, performance, results and durability. Yet for many, it seems to be the last priority on the list of popular fitness goals — as people aim to lose weight and build muscle. But here’s the rub: while these goals are important for our overall health, the reality is you can’t optimally achieve them unless you’re able to move well and move often. Additionally, the everyday gym-goer or training client is likely to lose steam as these traditional ambitions often take several weeks, if not months, to ever see a tangible difference. This can cause that initial spark of motivation to fizzle in our clients and members or worse, prompt them to quit or go elsewhere.
Instead of looking at fitness only in the scope of far-off goals, what if we emphasized the immediate benefits that coincide with moving better? Then you can show real and tangible results in the short-term (progress equals happy clients), and the effects of these achievements will lay the foundation for the long-term goals (weight loss and endurance).
According to psychological science, that shift in perspective improves enjoyment and adherence. This theory is known as “The Progress Theory,” which is basically a way of leveraging small wins as a means to inspiring an individual to reach their long-term goals. We know that both are necessary to succeed at losing weight, building muscle and the other primary goals that inspire people to purchase memberships and training.
An effective way to understand movement competence and communicate the importance of movement is through assessments — which ultimately will equip trainers with knowledge, information and actionable steps to help their clients reach their goals. Assessments also help us create customized programs, as we obviously need to be in-tune with an individual’s overall capacity.
The bottom line is that moving well is an essential (very possibly the most essential) component to achieving fitness. Thus, it’s up to us as fitness professionals to start spreading that message and start using the tools we have available to us. At the end of the day, the thing that’s going to keep our members coming back for more is results — and a fun journey on the way. When we start with movement, we are that much more likely to yield both immediate and long-term results for our clients.